A novel by Herman Wouk
, The Winds of War chronicles the time period from Hitler's
invasion of Poland
in 1939 up to Pearl Harbor
in December, 1941 through the point of view of one American Naval family, the Henry's.
The main character in the book is the family patriarch, Victor "Pug" Henry, a fairly high ranking US Naval officer. His wife Rhonda loves him but has great difficulties coping with his long absences, and turns to another man, Palmer Kirby, for support. Meanwhile, Pug meets a beautiful young British girl, Pamela Tudsbury, in London who is very attracted to him but he does not pursue her out of loyalty to his wife.
The Henry children are Warren, a Navy fighter pilot, Madeline, an aspiring actress, and Byron, who does not know what direction he wants his life to take but is eventually convinced by his father to join the Navy and go to submariners school. Byron, however, has designs on a young Jewish girl, Natalie Jastrow, who finds herself trapped in the clutches of Nazi Europe as she tries to rescue her uncle Aaron from Italy at great danger to herself.
The Winds of War was made into a very critically aclaimed TV Miniseries in 1983 and had a rather notable cast, including Robert Mitchum as Pug, Jan Michael Vincent as Byron (before both Airwolf and drugs), John Houseman ("We make money the old fashion way, we eeeearn it") as Aaron, and Peter Graves as Palmer Kirby.
Wouk also wrote the sequel to The Winds of War, War and Remembrance, which chronicals the Henry's through the remainder of the war. Following the popularity of Winds of War on TV, War and Remembrance was also made into a somewhat dissapointing mini-series with substantially the same cast but with Jan Michael Vincent replaced (drugs had gotten to him by that time) as well as a different actress (Jane Seymor) as Natalie, and Sharon Stone assuming the role of Warren's wife Janice.